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There are a myriad of reasons why I can’t do this. I don’t really believe that I even know where to begin. But I can’t do this. And I’ll try my very best to tell you why.

I can’t do this because when you tell me that I’m beautiful, I believe you. And I can’t have that. I can’t have someone convincing me that they see beauty in me. If I believe you – and sometimes I do – then what’ll happen when you leave? Because you will leave.

That’s another one. I can’t do this because you’ll leave. You won’t know it yet, but I do. I’ll ignore the fact, however. A sort of emotional masochistic endeavor. But I won’t be entirely ignorant. I’ll convince myself that this time it’ll be different. This time I’ll be loved. This time you will stay and I can feel safe. This time…

What else? Well, for one thing, you have soft pillows. There. I said it. You want to know why I can’t do this, and that’s a perfectly viable reason. The pillows on your bed are so soft it feels as if I’m sleeping on a marshmallow – which actually isn’t as pleasant as it sounds.

I can’t do this because when you look at me, I can’t breathe for a second. And if you were to look at me for longer, with the meaning in your eyes that I hope to find, I’d die. Just keel over. You may not know this, but breathing is necessary for living. Yup. And your taking my breath away is for one thing, decidedly rude, and for another, impeding the efficiency of my living processes.

I can’t do this because you make me laugh – even when I’ve had the worst day. Your eyes captivate me. Your voice enthralls me so that I just want you to tell me stories all day long. I can’t do this because you have made me forget about the other 3,456,782,396 men on the planet. I can’t do this because if I did, I’d never want to not do it. I can’t do this because you hesitate when I tell you how I feel. You hesitate when I ask you to kiss me. And you’ll hesitate when I ask you to love me.

I can’t do this, us, love, because… Well, if I’m honest – completely 100% honest – I can do this.
And I want to. But if I need to find reasons not to, to protect myself, then I will.
Even if the only reason I can find is those damn pillows!

When it’s good, it’ll be right. And when it’s right, you’ll know. You won’t have known all the time, but there’ll be moments when everything is suddenly so clear that you can’t understand why you’d ever considered doing things any other way. When it’s good, it’ll be so right that to behave, think, speak or feel any other way, will be wrong. And when it’s wrong, it’ll be the worst.

When it’s good, it’ll be the best. And this doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be perfect. No one ever said that perfection was naturally the best. And whilst it may not be perfect, it’ll still be good. In a life where so very many things can go wrong, be wrong, feel wrong, the ability to recognise and hold onto what’s good may get a little lost. We’re so busy concerning ourselves with how the people and “traditions” of the world dictate us to feel, and who we ought to be, and what is or isn’t acceptable, that we lose sight of the most important fact: you get one life. One. And you’re the one who has to live it, everyday. So why would you choose anything other than what’s good, what’s right?

When it’s right, you’ll know. You can have faith in that. And when it’s wrong, you’ll know, too. The only thing that ever gets in the way in the pursuit of what’s right, is ourselves. We sit, and worry, and think, and wait. Instead of wondering who you are to have so much good, ask yourself who you are not to?

When I wonder who the people I have respect for are, my answers are probably somewhat unorthodox. It’s the man or woman who says “I don’t” when standing at the alter – arguably one of the most unacceptable places at which to be completely honest about how you feel. It’s the young rape victim who, pregnant with the rapist’s child, brings the child up to be the very antithesis of all of the evil of the man who caused his conception. It’s the mothers who love their children through the terrible two’s, teenage angst, drug addictions and worse. It’s the man who follows his heart in pursuit of the woman he loves, because even though his friends may tease him for being “whipped,” he’d rather sacrifice a man card or two, than ever risk losing her.

When it’s good, it won’t always be good, but it’ll be right. And you’ll know it. With every part of you. Once you know it, the times it isn’t so good will be okay. Because no one ever promised you that it would be easy, just that it’d be worth it. So, let go of the past. Let go of the fear. Start again. And this time, give more. Trust more. Love more.  Find what’s good. Find what’s right.

It’s come to my attention that my dating life, up until now, is being used as the example section of “how not to do it” in the conversations of my family and friends. I’ve become that girl. The girl that’s invited to tell the horror stories of her past relationships to make other women feel better. And I’m sitting here wondering when I let it get this bad? I mean, did my mother read me one too many fairy tales, instilling in me a deep desire to kiss a frog (or 100) and find a prince? Never disheartened, I’ve resolved to come up with a few guide lines for myself, and any other ladies, who can’t seem to take the psychotic glint in our potential partner’s eyes as reason enough to run.

1. If he uses his cell phone whilst you’re on a date – especially the first date – even if he apologises. Come on! He carries his phone around with him 24 hours a day and can’t take an hour or two off to meet your eye line and actually hold a conversation that isn’t punctuated with message alert tones? What, must you learn to mimic the sound his cell phone makes in order to come top of the charts? How about no. Next please.

2. If he uses any one of the following to describe himself: asshole, commitment phobe, serial monogamist, jerk, free spirit, lone wolf, etc. Come on ladies, I know this guy. I’ve been there. A man who’ll tell you that he’s one of these, but adds that “perhaps things will be different with you,” had said this line before. And guess what? It won’t be different. It’s never different. Take him at face value. He’s giving you a warning, so dodge the bullet honey. Let’s not run face first into this brick wall again expecting a different result.

3. If he’s flaky. Are you constantly waiting to hear from him so you can arrange to see him? And when you do make plans, does he cancel them last minute or just never get back to you because he was super busy? Well, maybe he’s busy, but I’ve yet to meet someone who can’t send a text that takes all of thirty seconds to type to ensure you don’t sit around feeling worthless. If you have time to pee for Heaven’s sake, then you have time to send a text! And ladies, this guy, the one for whom you’ll make excuses to yourself and your friends, he’s actually sort of magical. Want to know his most effective trick? The moment you stop making excuses for him; stop texting him; and stop waiting around for him, he will disappear from your life for good. Kinda neat, huh?

4. If he never compliments you. Now, I know what it’s like to wish a guy would like you. You’d be wiling to do anything – ANYTHING – and yet, you can never quite NOT get upset when he tells you how beautiful he thinks another woman is. She may be in a film, a magazine or walking passed you on the street. Either way, when you’re trying to be the best you can be, and that STILL isn’t deemed worthy of a compliment from this cheap and insensitive waste of time you’re seeing, I have one word for you: run. You’re incredible. You’re beautiful. You’re sensitive, and your capacity to love – as a woman – knows no bounds. So dammit lady, give yourself the compliments he won’t, and move on.

5. If he won’t hold your hand, give you a hug, or kiss you unless it’s the prelude to sexual intercourse. Enough said, it’s that simple.

Relationships are tricky as hell, and Lord knows I remain in square one when it comes to them. But if we’re the ones in control of our lives and those we let into them, I think we ought to resolve to be a little bit smarter about these decisions, don’t you? I’m done chasing, and I’m done giving everything for nothing in return. I’m going old school. Chivalry is not dead, and it’s the least I demand. I am woman, hear me roar. No more grey area, no more murky, no more “it’s better than nothing.” I do well by myself, and I will not be tamed. It’s never too late to not settle for anything less than you deserve.

I’m bored of the cynics. I’m bored of the moaning, and the people who give up because they got hurt. I know this sounds harsh, but it’s time for some tough loving. Having been on various social networking websites for a couple of years now, we all know the various motions that are bound to take place at certain points in the year, and in our lives. These include (but aren’t limited to): the Valentine’s Day “it’s a commercial holiday created by card and candy companies to boost sales” banter; the “my life is over, I’ll never love again, and I can’t even remember how to breath or brush my teeth without you” post-break-up statuses; and the “I am single and staying that way. You all suck. F*#% off,” posts that frequent our various news feeds. Well, I’m bored.

I hate to break to you all, but being a cynic, it’s easy. It’s a cop out, if you ask me. Seeing the negative in everything, it’s doesn’t take a genius. There’s so much of it out there in the world. It’s easy to focus on all the ways in which love, life, and people fall short of your hopes, dreams, and expectations. Oooh why don’t you be real controversial and say something about you hate love and couples in love? Look at you and your bad self. Because that’s all there is. You. And yourself.

I want to challenge you. Step up to the plate. Take the bat in hand, and swing! Stop reiterating the thoughts of the 92-year-old angry man next door. Let it go. Oscar Wilde stated that “hearts were made to be broken.” And it’ll happen. And when it happens, it will suck. It will hurt. It will cause you pain that starts in your toes and sits in your stomach and chokes at your throat. You’ll wish you were dead. You’ll cry. You’ll hope every SMS and phone call brings the words “I made a mistake.” You’ll laugh with your friends, but feel like you’ll never truly laugh again. And after all of this, you’ll move on. You’ll heal. A little bruised and scarred perhaps, but wiser and more thankful for all that you experienced.

We’re in a leap year that some say will end with the end of the world. Whatever your views on this, I just see it as a another reason to live. When it comes to things in life, if you’re doing them half-heartedly you may as well not do them at all. Having one foot in the door, means that you still have one foot out of it, ready to run should the smallest of reasons arise. And I’m bored with it. I’m bored with the excuses, the damaged goods, the baggage we choose to cart around with us. That’s right, we choose what we carry with us. And we choose what we let go. So when you eventually get far enough the road of love, turn back and be thankful for the moments and happiness you shared; send love and light, and let go.

I believe that we’re given fire to teach us about water; death to learn about life; and pain to learn about joy. So take the good with the bad. Pick yourself up when you fall. Never settle for anything less than butterflies. Never stay in a relationships when your loved ones ask you “how bad does it have to get?” And give yourself another chance. Believe in romance, in love. Have hope. And leave the cynicism to someone else. It’s not a good look for you. Rather reach for the moon and land amongst the stars.

I challenge you to be strong; to never give up; and to hand out love whenever you can. Remain open to the possibility that you, too, can be loved. And you will be. I promise.

I watched a RomCom last night. I know you told me not to, I know it gets me footloose and fancy free. I know I begin to daydream, losing my head in the clouds of romantic moments and the proclamations of love. I know all of this. But I did it anyway. And you know I kept my feet firmly on the ground. Barely. My big toes clung with all their might, and in the end I managed to bring myself back down to the ground. And it wasn’t because you told me to.

I slept in your hoodie last night. It wasn’t exactly comfortable, I mean the zip was cold and scratched against my tummy. But I persevered. You never told me not to, but I can’t imagine your being one hoodie short with Winter coming was your idea of facing the change in season. Still, I saw the chance to take a tiny piece of you home with me, and when you asked if I was cold, I nodded yes – knowing I’d get more than just warmth out of it. And then I slept in it. And willed my hair and body to leave the sweet scent you say you smell when I’m near. I know it sounds romantic but it isn’t. I slept in your hoodie because it was cold.
It wasn’t because you told me to.

My heart skipped a few beats this morning. I know you find it dramatic when I say such things, but I can’t help the way you make my heart jump. And it never jumps just once, but flicks and flacks its way through five or ten minutes, during which I fear I may pass out. And it wasn’t because of anything you said, or did. You never say, or do anything worth messing with my heart beat. In fact, were it to up to you, my heart would flatline every time. But – with thanks to the RomCom and hoodie clouded dreams – I woke with the memory of your arm across my stomach whilst we slept and your lips against mine in a kiss. And that was all it took to set my heart a-beating. And I sat and missed you and then (unsuccessfully) resolved not to. And it wasn’t because you told me to.

I began a blog. A blog in which to pour my meandering thoughts and views as I weather the stormy seas of our single-sided love affair. You like me, alright, but not as much as I like you. And you did warn me, to your credit, you did. You told me not to fall for you. And I did.
And it wasn’t because you told me to.